Jeannette Reyes, a DC news anchor for Good Day DC, brilliantly lent her professional vocal skills to turn the tables on a scam caller.
A video clip of her pranking the scammer claiming he was from the FBI to collect an outstanding balance of over $2,500 has gone viral with over 101K likes on Twitter and 5.3 million views on TikTok.
"Spam callers, I'm tired of 'em," she tweeted. "Let's have some fun."
"I've been getting really annoyed with these people," said Reyes as she showed the camera the incoming call visible on her smartphone screen.
"I'm sick of them. So let's have a little fun."
Reyes answered the call and put it on speaker so viewers could listen in. The man on the other end, "Jason O'Neil," claimed he was from the FBI and called to inform Reyes there was an outstanding warrant out for her arrest and she owed $2,792.33.
She obliged Jason by telling him she didn't know about the balance and asked if she could pay for it now.
The man, presumably surprised by her easy cooperation, said she could make the payment of at least $2,500 with a debit or credit card.
"Sure, I have a card right now," she told the caller. He then asked her to go ahead and provide the number.
She proceeded to give him the digits – not to a card number – but to a countdown anchors use to indicate they are going live.
"It's 3, 2, 1, … Good evening," she said with an abrupt change in her speaking tone.
"We are live on television right now with an investigation into scam callers."
"We have the FBI on the line. They are tracking this phone number as we speak. Sir, what is your full name again?"
The response was an audible click indicating the scammer had hung up. Mission accomplished.
Viewers shared their own experiences with spam callers and how they've dealt with them.
Impressed viewers wanted to use her anchor voice as a sound byte to combat their own intrusive phone calls.
When they requested her for a recording in the comments, Reyes happily delivered.
"Ask and you shall receive," wrote Reyes in a TikTok post.
Reply to @ladiimedussa456 ask and you shall receive 😌 #scam#anchor#voice#fbi#spam
Reyes – who has had enough of frequent scammer calls – told Buzzfeed News:
"I know the anchor voice can be a little jarring when it comes out of nowhere, especially when you're being told you're on live television with the FBI on the line."
"It took quite a few tries to get a human scammer (instead of a robocall). I almost didn't post it because I wanted the scammer to actually react. But I guess abruptly hanging up is just as good."
"I've seen so many heartbreaking comments from people saying they or their loved ones have fallen for these scams. And I get it, it seems believable in the moment."
She cautioned listeners to "err on the side of caution" and to ask questions.
"Scammers will typically try to pressure you into paying up right then and there," she said.
"If they won't let you call them back to verify on your own whether the call is legitimate, it likely isn't."